|The Aural Mosque (on the far left)|
Looking from the outside, Bo-Kaap is known for its' colorful houses that are tucked safely into the fold of Signal hill. The neighborhood is actually filled with impacting history, memorable culture and enjoyable cuisines and also serves as the home of the Cape Malay people who are predominantly of the Muslim faith and in addition, it is the home of the oldest mosque in South Africa called The Auwal Mosque. Before coming to Cape Town I use to spend all day googling tourist sites, which mountains to hike and which towns to visit but, all that changed when my class got one of the most enticing tours of Cape Town.
The tour of Bo-Kaap began in their local museum. Our tour guide, Shareen, took us on one of the quickest but heart felt tours of the basic culture and history of the Cape Malay people of Bo-Kaap. In the museum, we were able to see things such as old pictures from past weddings in the older streets of Bo-Kaap as well as the types of materials used by families to make their meals. It was an impressive variety of items that in combination focused on the norms of this community.
As we made our way out of the museum, we crossed the street to enter “The World of Spices” formerly known as the Atlas Trading Company. There, we were all amazed by the grand selection of spices such as coriander, cumin, and chilli all the way to my personal favorite Chicken Tikka Masala. Shareen was great enough to coach us on the specific spices that are used to make some of the more traditional meals the neighborhood.
When we began our journey in the vivid streets of Bo-Kaap, we quickly documented what we saw. On each street there were different arrays of colored houses that almost seemed to not repeat because the colors of each house was as vibrant and breathtaking as the next.
|Leaving the spice grocery|
After what it seemed to be the last of the colored houses, we arrived to a beautiful home of one of the locals. A local Bo-Kaap woman, who invited us into her home for lunch and a mini samoosas folding and stuffing lesson, greeted us with open arms. As soon as I sat at the table I swiftly took some mouth-watering pictures of the appetizers and dug into the samoosas (one of my favorite foods). As we continued to stuff our faces with such goodness, the mother offered to teach us how to fold and fill the samoosas but not too long after we were eating lunch. The samoosas and Dhaltjies (Chili bites) served as an appetizer while the main course consisted of the traditional Cape Malay Curry Chicken and Roti while for dessert we had Koesisters (something I have never tasted before but it was delightful). The meal was so delicious and I found myself asking for seconds, thirds and also fourths. At that moment, it was appropriate to say that I visited the Cape Malay paradise.
|Samoosas and Dhaljties|
|Bo-Kaap woman teaching us how to hold the samoosas.|
I had one of the most memorable moments in her home and with her family. They were extremely welcoming people who were very excited to teach us about their culture and to be honest, I didn't want to leave. I found myself intrigued to learn more about their lives and more importantly, to be fed ;)
By the end of the tour, I learned everything from the basic history of when the Malay people came to Cape Town all the way to the culture and types of cuisines they brought with them. More or less, whether it be the smell of the spices, the tiny roads, the beautiful mountains or the brightly colored houses, Bo-Kaap has proven to be the MOST beautiful places with the MOST lovely people.
|Walking through the tiny streets of Bo-Kaap|